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Ambassador Wendy Parker: Communications on the Road – Now and Then

 

Six million miles. When Dad died in 1976, I wouldn’t have known except I blew out a tire on company trailer and called in for a P.O. Number.”

This quote comes from, Gregg Blair, a seasoned veteran of the road, and someone I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing for a story I wrote for Overdrive Magazine. Gregg remembers what being on the road in the 70’s was like, and understands the difference in today’s version of being away from home.

Wireless communication has distinctly changed the connotations of “being away.” Cell phones and the internet enable us to see our loved ones face-to-face in seconds, even if we’re on the other side of the world. These familiar connections not only give us important emotional ties, they enable us to transfer information immediately to one another.

In 1978, the only “wireless” communication for the trucking industry was a CB radio. The CB was used for everything from safety and traffic warnings to a platform drivers used to assure themselves there were actually other human beings out there. In 1978, you didn’t stroll down the road with a headset on, talking to your wife or boyfriend for hours. One call to home a day, from a pay phone you waited in line for, was doing good and being lonely was expected.

Times have changed, and like most industries, trucking has become dependent on wireless communication. Not only is it imperative for the daily operation of business, it allows the long haul trucker the benefit of instant family connections. Headset technology allows the driver to communicate and remain lawful, with both hands on the wheel. No more missing the seventh-grade band concert, it can be live-streamed directly into the truck, for mom or dad’s listening pleasure.

These devices and the equipment needed to power them have become invaluable tools of the trade, and most will agree, a good investment in work tools makes for a good return. Drivers don’t mind spending money for quality and the guarantee of being tough tested when it comes to these tools. The five dollars saved on a power cord can’t begin to compensate for missing an important load alert, or phone call, or Facetime with your favorite niece when you’re lonely and far from home. When such important things are on the line, quality is the name of the game.